Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Swimming Bag Of Tricks

 Paddles:  These come in a variety of sizes and styles.  I currently use the TYR brand because they come in sizes from XS to XL.  I use them with my tiny swimming students, and recommend them for the adults as well.  Paddles give you the true feel of pulling through the water and highlights the slipping that occurs if you drop your elbow under the water.

Training Fins: Man, I love fins.  I wish I could swim with fins at every race.  They are proof that humans weren't meant for water.  Fins should be used sparingly for kicking drills.  If you wear them to keep up with others in your lane, you are using them for the wrong reason.  Use fins to find your correct kick, which is not as deep or splashy as most beginner swimmers think.  Don't buy or use scuba fins.  They are too long.

Goggles:  Essential for swimming.  Duh. Should I even list these?  I like Vanquisher Plus by Speedo.  They have been my go-to goggles for years.  I keep the fog out by either licking the insides or using a little Johnson's baby shampoo on the inner eye lens.

Pool Buoy:  This little flotation device is placed between the legs for buoyancy of the lower legs/body.  Men, I have found, love this toy because they tend to have heavy legs that make their lower body drop in the water.  The buoy keeps legs up, ready to kick and stabilizes the mid-section.  Good use of the pool buoy would be when using hand paddles and focusing on the arm stroke.

Kick board:  My favorite kick board, circa 1970, is so old that I swear it's an antique collector's item.  It won't break, it's soft around the edges and I love it.  Resist the urge to by a cheapie at Costco or at the pool supply store.  Get a good one that is heavy duty -- I do have a couple with a few bite marks on them from hungry swim kids.  A kick board is a valuable tool to see if you are kicking too shallow or too deep.  Since your head is above water, you can see if you are keeping up with your friends  If you are slow and DON'T MOVE, it's time to revisit your kick.

Don't forget a swim cap, latex is longer lasting and won't pull your hair out.  Make sure you have a waterproof watch or a timing clock at your pool.  I've found TriSwim products take the chlorine smell out of your hair and skin.  And, a mesh gear bag that will hold all your new swim toys, is great for poolside convenience.

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